Heat and technology don't mix. We're talking about things like PCs, servers and everything inside of them. A lot of manufacturers try to make sure the heat generated by hardware has a way to escape, but it's not always enough. And what about heat from the outside? This is where problems can really get out of control.
Right now, we're in the dog days of summer. The temperatures are high and air conditioners are running at full capacity in an attempt to keep us cool. As you run your practice, your technology is running and generating its own heat, as well. If it can't keep cool, the end result can be disastrous.
Why Every Practice Should Take Heat Seriously
Smaller devices like laptops, tablets and more compact desktop computers are especially susceptible to heat damage simply because they are not as efficient at removing heat internally. As they heat up, their performance degrades. If they get hot enough, it can cause irreparable damage. Most devices will automatically shut down if they get too hot – you want to avoid getting to that point as much as you can.
Overheating can also cause damage to specific components. There have been reports of graphics cards catching on fire due to heat and heat-caused electrical issues. Heat can also destroy central processing units, or CPUs. While CPUs are designed to withstand the high temperatures created by processing data, they have their limits. If the computer is forced to overwork as it tries to stay cool, the end result can be a melted CPU!
To make matters worse, as heat intrudes on your devices, they will struggle to function correctly. For example, you may even start to notice slowdowns when using your laptop. Programs may take forever to load, and they may even freeze, leaving you without a way to work!
For any practice, this can be devastating. When you're dealing with patients or clients, the last thing you need is for your systems to fail. Suddenly, productivity falls through the floor, and you're left scrambling as you try to figure out what to do next. It can bring your office to a standstill.
But it doesn't end there! If your systems overheat – either due to internal issues (such as inadequate heat dissipation), external issues (summer temperatures) or a combination of both – you could lose valuable data. Heat is a common cause of data loss. Heat can damage hard drives and solid-state disk drives. If you don't have an off-site backup (whether it's local or cloud-based), that data may be lost forever.
And if you lose that data, it can be incredibly costly to get your practice back up and running. It's not only data lost, but it's also time and money lost. It can be as devastating as a data breach or cyber-attack and can leave you with few options.
What Can You Do?
First, it's important to assess your cooling needs. Does your office have adequate air conditioning? If you have a data or server room, does that have adequate air conditioning? Look at individual devices – do they have adequate cooling, or do they need to be supplemented?
Second, assess your data security needs. Do you keep all your data on-site? In the event of an emergency, and if your data is compromised, do you have a contingency plan? Do you regularly back up your data? There are a lot of questions to consider, but they're all important. Your data and the health of your practice is top priority. If you have questions about your technology cooling needs – as well as data protection and backup – consider partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) or an experienced IT services firm. They can help you solve all of these problems and get you through the dog days of summer like it's nothing!